The other day TV presenter Anthony McPartlin, better known as ‘Ant’ of Ant and Dec, announced that he is divorcing his wife and long-time partner Lisa Armstrong. The reports of the split speculate that Ms Armstrong may be awarded one of biggest ever divorce settlements in this country, receiving half of McPartlin’s estimated fortune of £62 million.
Whilst we do not wish to comment upon the accuracy of these reports, they do illustrate the principle that when a marriage ends each party is entitled to an equal share of the assets, unless there is a good reason to the contrary. The basis of this principle, known as the ‘sharing principle’, is that marriage is a partnership of equals, irrespective of which party earned more money during the marriage (it is believed that the majority of the couple’s wealth was earned by McPartlin).
As the above suggests, there are cases in which there will be a good reason to depart from an equal division of assets. A recent example of this was the case Sharp v Sharp, in which the Court of Appeal held that a departure from equality was justified due, in particular, to the short duration of the marriage and the wife’s greater contribution towards the assets. In the McPartlin case it is notable that he and his wife have been together for some 23 years, and have been married since 2007.
We cannot say whether an equal division of the assets is appropriate in the McPartlin divorce, but we do hope that the couple are able to resolve matters quickly and amicably.
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